Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paper Mache` vs. Creative Paper Clay vs. Paper Clay Recipe!

For those of you who work in figurative sculpture, or are art doll makers, or just like to putz around in an artsy way this post is for you. If you don't fit into the categories above this post may just be a yawn. Sorry.

The following is a comparison of my experiences using three different products. Paper mache`, Creative Paper Clay, and paper clay recipe.
This picture is a good example of how I like to mix up my mediums. The round flower is Creative Paper Clay. The 3-petal blossom is made from the paper clay recipe found on line. Both of these flowers adhered quite well with out any glue to the paper mache` background.

In my Cloth and Clay group I have a discussion going about a paper clay recipe vs. purchasing the manufactured paper clay. I wanted an alternative to the little bricks and my dependency on whether or not my local hobby stores would have it in stock or not. And, truthfully, at the time with a rather large sculpture in mind I knew I would eat through those little blocks in a wallet blowing way.

In asking around one of my fellow Cloth and Clay members hooked me up with a link to a website and a paper clay recipe. Scroll down through my posts-the link is in there somewhere. I cooked it up, messed it up, fixed it again and now have grown quite used to it and use it regularly. So I thought I would share with you what I have learned in the process.

I usually start my projects with a wire armature. This satisfies the mechanical side of my abilities. Nothing like twisting and cutting wire and then wrapping all kinds of tape and stuff around it! And to satisfy the miser in me I use a base layer of paper mache`. It fills up nooks and crannies quickly when used thickly, is really quites strong, and can be smoothed out to be very thin layer (HA! Paper thin as a matter of fact! I kill myself with my obviousness!) that will allow the texture of the mesh/screen to show through.

Then on the surface layer I would use paper clay- as we all know- it sands up beautifully, paints easily and is an all around joy to work with. I discovered along the way that if you didn't want to sand you could use a paint brush and water to smooth out the surface. That discovery led me to create a 'slip'- really watered down and mixed up paper clay which I then brush on the surface. This creates an interesting grainy finish. By the way, I have kept this slip in an airtight container in my frig. for months now, no sign of mold or mildew. I'm surprised no one has tried to eat it.

This flower is uses a big round ball of paper clay smooshed on the surface of paper mache`. I needed the paper clay's dryish consistency to maintain the shape of each petal as I dug into the clay and lifted the petal up. Neither paper mache or the paper clay recipe would have given me this fine detailed result.

The paper clay recipe does not have the same finish as Creative Paper Clay. It is an entity of its own, truly a mix between paper mache` and Creative Paper Clay. It dries up hard. It reminds me of a cast you'd see on a broken arm. I haven't used it in final stages; I've stuck with the Creative Paper clay. But the recipe is more 'pose-able' than paper mache and I can manipulate it into small shapes such as flowers or glop it on where I need structural strength. I get more done with it for less $$$ than the Creative Paper Clay. Its a real time saver because its already mixed up and waiting for me. I have not been successful storing mixed paper mache`.


I've also found that, using the same tools I normally do I can get a fair amount of detail into the paper clay recipe. It dries fairly quickly and your working time can be extended by adding water- either spritzing it on or dabbing with a paint brush. By the way, the paper clay recipe can be smoothed out with a paint brush while still wet. It will however maintain a textural surface, don't expect it to be perfectly smooth.

I keep the paper clay recipe in a ziploc bag in the fridge next to the slip. It feels like bread dough. I actually prefer to let it set up a few days before I use it. I have a tendency to not squeeze all the water out of the TP. and usually have to add more of the other ingredients to make up for it. I don't have specific amounts to pass along. If you are used to Creative Paper Clay- keep the texture of that in mind as you make your decisions. For, myself, I enjoy making up the recipe as I feel even more creatively bonded to the future piece of work. I'm also pleasantly taken back to the time when I was a new mother as the linseed oil's fragrance reminds me of the Desitin lotion I used on my daughter's diaper rash. Just a side note there.
So there it is, a three way tie as I could not do what I do with out all three of them now. Feel free to share your experiences- I'm always up for learning new things! I'll check for spelling tomorrow, right now my former Desitin user wants to cuddle! Goodnight, all!

12 comments:

  1. great post Chris. Since most of my projects are smaller- I've used mostly the Creative Paper Clay. I LOVE paper mache- but use it mostly as a first layer too. I have 2 half finished art dolls started from paper clay, but I seem to keep getting drawn back to the Candy House project, so they sit unfinished :( Maybe I'll have to try the paper clay recipe when I go back to them! Happy Valentines Day from one retired floral designer to another ♥

    ReplyDelete
  2. You know, I "fancy" myself a doll maker... even though I have made only a handful, and those from polymer clay. I ADORE the paper clay product I buy at my local craft store, but it gets expensive fast... so now that I'm all enthused, I'm going to track down the recipe for the paper clay you use and give that a go... I LOVE your dolls, so I can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i love this doll as well as your others and good to hear about your thoughts on the process ~ in making clay and the whole creative process ~ thanks ~ so glad I found your blog ~ Soooooo creative ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the paperclay from the Michaels and haven't tried the other stuff you mention here. also, I haven't been ambitious enough to try anything large. Once the holidays are over, I'm going for it! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have you tried signing up for the wholesale club at the Creative Paperclay site? I get mine for $6 a lb. which is nice especially when I do something crazy like create a 32 inch gourd sculpture. I confess I also used a found online recipe to do the under layer work. The paper clay recipe I found online was wetter than I usually use, and yes, the linseed oil is strange, but, the clay sat in the fridge for a few weeks and still came out nice. Nice work by the way!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Have you tried signing up for the wholesale club at the Creative Paperclay site? I get mine for $6 a lb. which is nice especially when I do something crazy like create a 32 inch gourd sculpture. I confess I also used a found online recipe to do the under layer work. The paper clay recipe I found online was wetter than I usually use, and yes, the linseed oil is strange, but, the clay sat in the fridge for a few weeks and still came out nice. Nice work by the way!

    ReplyDelete
  7. There's a very nice paper mache clay recipe available on the following website. Ultimate Paper Mache: http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay
    Easy to make & use, and can be made for a fraction of the cost of the "store bought" varieties.

    ReplyDelete
  8. how do you stop paper clay going mouldy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. If its homemade add salt to it. Usually 1 tablespoon for a batch.

      Delete
  9. Still have seen no one who works with the medium like I do. Toilet paper? I use recycled office paper since I also write a lot and have a lot of revisions and printed on paper to recycle.I find it is a superior paper to newspaper which I used when I began with the medium many decades ago. I've built reusable armatures of wire and screen that I can pull away from the dried parts before I move on to the next phases. I cut and refine my work with Exacto blades, utility knives and saws as well as sanding and grinding. the basic medium is only paper and glue. I do use Elmer's which other than the surface paint is the only thing I pay for. You can see my work on my website.

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you mean you haven't seen anyone making fine art type figures / dolls with paper clay, you aren't the first. Other people do. In fact I used paper clay to make fine art style doll/sculpture and ended up winning an award at a small local art fair. An in-law who lived in New York was impressed and offered to try to get my sculptures into art galleries. I did a combination of doll art / serious sculpture. It did not have a "cute" look to it. My work is somewhat surreal and often involves a nature theme.
    I incorporate more than just the paper clay, and also use paints and other things.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting with me:)